What might one do to pass the time during a summer pandemic? One option is to read your heart out! And lucky you, Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) has a bingo game to motivate you.
SAL Summer Book Bingo launched in April, so there’s ample time to fill in your entire bingo card. See their site to find customized cards for young people (17 and under), adults, and Spanish-readers. Download the one that’s right for you.
For WITS students in Seattle and everywhere, they even created bingo card for writers! Pull out your journal and and use these fun writing prompts to make up your own poems and stories. Thanks, SAL!
The good folks at Missoula Writing Collaborative (MWC) in Montana know all about Cabin Fever. That’s why when Covid-19 forced families to stay at home, MWC quickly put together their Cabin Fever Survival Guide. Written for both parents and kids, this handy e-book will help you be productive and write, even on the most stir-crazy of homeschool days. Young writers can even submit their polished work to be aired on the radio or published! You can check out MWC’s extensive Digital Poetry Resources on their website too. These easy to use lessons prove once and for all, poetry really is for everyone.
The Pandemic has led many families to homeschooling, and WITS Houston has created Quick WITS as a free resource for students in grades K-5. Let Writers in the Schools help you with the writing portion of the school day. These 8-15 minute videos make writing fun and easy for children. Led by incredible teachers such as Jasminne Mendez, Dr. Kathryn Peterson, and Elizabeth Keel, these lessons will make you fall in love with writing.
California Poets in the Schools is providing a great resource for families homeschooling during the Pandemic. Their online poetry workshops are easy to use and beautiful as well. Once students complete their poem, they can submit it for publication on the California Poets website. The opportunity to become a published poet is exciting!
There are over 30 workshops already and new ones are being added each week. These exercises make writing easy and fun. And the slideshow format means that students can work at their own pace. California Poets in the Schools is providing an amazing opportunity for students feeling trapped by the Covid-19 quarantine.
This poem by Omar was written through the Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project in Washington State.
Merna Hecht and Carrie Stradley, the Co-Directors of the project, put the poem into context: “Similar to our other students from countries with prolonged war, Omar Abdi, age 15, from Somalia, celebrates what is unique and beautiful about his homeland while at the same time he writes of the violence and danger that war brings. Omar wanted to picture only the beauty of Somalia in his painting, while including more about his country’s struggles in his poem.” The painting was created under the mentorship of teaching artist Melissa Koch.
Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City is serving the educational needs of families “sheltered in place” with a new initiative called Writing Our Way Through. These are no-nonsense writing activities to help all the home-schooling families during the pandemic. As Matthew Burgess explains, you “do not need to identify as a writer or a teacher in order to make this happen. We are writing these lessons with the kitchen table in mind, or a circle on the carpet with notebooks. In most cases, the only materials you will need are sheets of paper and pencils or pens.”
Teaching Artists can enter to win a $1,000 prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative. The format is different this year:
” this year’s prize will be awarded to a classroom teacher or teaching artist for an innovative classroom project that supports student development as creative writers and thinkers. We are looking for projects that get students excited about writing, seek to educate the imagination, and promote a vibrant and dynamic culture of literacy in the classroom. The project should be one that you plan to complete in the next calendar year (eg. in 2020).”
WITS Alliance Member Organization Community Word Project will offer a Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists in New York, NY Application Deadline: June 15, 2019 Scholarship Assistance Available Summer Institute is a three-day intensive for Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching.
Deepen your teaching with experiential, inquiry and reflection processes
Connect with Teaching Artists from around the country
Expand your impact teaching for social justice
Explore creative processes and critical thinking
Investigate techniques for project-based arts integration
Build new strategies for creating a positive classroom culture
For 55 years, WITS Alliance Member Program California Poets in the Schools has brought the powerful magic of poetry creation and performance to over one million students. Our work is more important than ever! Studies show that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates. Creativity is the #1 desired skill in today’s job market. Poetry instruction builds empathy and a sense of belonging in the classroom setting. Poetry and the arts can be a powerful, healing tool for schools and communities recovering from natural disasters and other traumas such as gun violence.
California Poets in the Schools will offer a weekend conference is open to the public and geared towards literary teaching artists, literary arts organizational staff, classroom educators, poets, MFA candidates and more. Content will be engaging for those brand new to teaching the literary arts and to “old hats.” Juan Felipe Herrera will be the special guest!
At this Symposium, workshops will be geared towards the theme of Creativity for Change. How can poetry in the classroom be a transformational tool for positive change? How can our lesson plans respond swiftly with resilience and flexibility to the most pressing issues of our time? How do we need to change and grow ourselves in order to best serve our communities? We will learn from experts in our midst and pool our best practices for a weekend of learning, networking, community-building, poetry readings and some good old-fashioned fun.
Big things are happening at The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in Ohio. Because of their established outreach program, Teaching Poetry in the Schools, Wick is a member of the WITS Alliance. Their most recent public event engaged the community in the creative process and helped each participant discover more about their personal vision conjured up by the word HOME:
Last weekend the Wick Poetry Center welcomed hundreds of guests to the May Prentice House and Poetry Park. While the second annual Kent Creativity Festival—a collaboration of Kent State University, the City of Kent, Main Street Kent, local businesses and non-profit organizations—provided community members a chance to paint, act, build, and dance, we invited participants to create and decorate poems through our Emerge application. Our guest writers crafted their own poetry from sources including a meditation on our ever-present black squirrels, the history of Kent, and a response to the politics surrounding the renewal of DACA by prominent American writers. Working from these original documents, writers of all ages were able to leap over the daunting anxiety of the blank page and craft their own “found” Emerge poem.
Next, each visitor had the chance to offer up their own original stanza to a growing community poem about Kent:
Kent is the smell of firewood and wet soil after the first rainshower of the year. Kent is music flowing straight into your soul calling you to sing out for the place that is your home. Kent is crunching acorns and car engines. Kent is a rumbling train with a blue heron flying overhead, reflected in a crooked river. Kent is a paintbrush adding the most vibrant colors to every aspect of life.
Congratulations to the Missoula Writing Collaborative on a beautiful series of poems and photographs by young writers featured in The Missoulian. The portrait series demonstrates the power that children can harness through the art of writing. See the entire series here. An article by Caroline Patterson explains more about what students gain through the writers-in-the-schools experience.